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Investigating pathways linking women's status and empowerment to skilled attendance at birth in Tanzania: A structural equation modeling approach
Authors: Kyoko Shimamoto, and Jessica D. Gipson
Source: PLOS ONE , 14(2): e0212038; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212038
Topic(s): Delivery care
Maternal health
Women's status
Women’s empowerment
Country: Africa
Published: FEB 2019
Abstract: Maternal and newborn mortality remain unacceptably high in sub-Saharan Africa where use of a skilled birth attendant (SBA) at delivery has remained low. Despite the recognized importance of women's empowerment as a key determinant of maternal and newborn health, evidence from sub-Saharan Africa is more limited. Using data from the 2010 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (n = 4,340), this study employs a robust method-structural equation modeling (SEM)-to investigate the complex and multidimensional pathways through which women's empowerment affects SBA use. The results show that women's education and household decision-making are positively associated with SBA use. However, not all empowerment dimensions have similar effects. Attitudes towards sex negotiation and violence as well as early marriage are not significant factors in Tanzania. Mediation analysis also confirms the indirect effect of education on SBA use only through household decision-making. The findings underscore the utility of structural equation modeling when examining complex and multidimensional constructs, such as empowerment, and demonstrate potential causal inference to better inform policy and programmatic recommendations